When you think of Dutch trance, the name Tiesto invariably comes up. But fellow countryman Ferry Corsten might be the most low-key superstar DJ in the world - in fact, last year he was ranked at No. 7 in DJ Magazine's annual Top 100 DJs poll. You also might have heard his pioneering work under the alias System F, which released the trance standard "Out of the Blue." Catch his weekly radio show, "Corsten's Countdown," on Sirius XM, and check him out at LIV at the Fontainebleau Thursday night, where he's spinning in support of his latest CD "Once Upon a Night 2." Ferry talked to Miami.com about the new album and the tour.
How does it feel to be named the No. 7 DJ in the world by DJ Mag?
It's great to be in the list anywhere, to be visible. Top 10 is great, in my opinion. But on the other hand, I'd rather see full clubs and really come up with the result people expect from you having a so-called international name as a DJ, and I don't really think a number is that important.
How's the tour going so far?
The tour has been great - I've done four weeks and 20 cities, so I can really look back at a very successful tour, especially the weekend shows, of course, were amazing. And it's been a while since I was in Miami, since outside of Conference, basically. I'm at LIV, and I've never been there, so that's gonna be a new thing for me, and I'm looking forward to that.
All the tracks on Once Upon a Night were previously unreleased. Is that the case for Once Upon a Night Vol. 2?
Yeah, "Once Upon a Night," as a concept, both volumes 1 and 2 are based around unreleased tracks. The whole concept is every weekend you can go to your favorite club, but every night is different again, and every night is a night that never happened before. So it's the same thing with music - it's something you've never heard before. It's all brand-new tracks by brand-new producers who've never released anything before. I decided to go this route because it's exciting - presenting new music to the world is way more challenging in my opinion than putting a compilation together with the biggest hits out there. To make a story, as cliche as it may sound, with unreleased music, is a great way of presenting it.
How does the vibe of OUAN2 differ from the first one?
The whole concept is a house-ier sound, still very warm, very trance-y in a way, but with a more groovy type. The way the second one is different - it has a bit more of a raw groove to it. The other one was very smooth, some tracks almost even lounge-y, and this one is just a bit more chunky, I guess. And especially Disc 2 - it's a lot tougher at the end, a bit more banging, a bit more club-sounding. People see me as a trance DJ, and I had my breakthrough with trance and that's what I pretty much play throughout, but I've always been experimenting with electro, with techno, with breaks, hardcore, ambient, you name it. Doing different stuff is nothing new for me, really.
What can we expect from your show at LIV?
The show at LIV is gonna be a bit more groovy - it's definitely gonna be the "Once Upon a Night" sound, and I'll probably play about three hours - that's the usual.
How does your radio show Corsten's Countdown differ from your live sets?
The radio show is always presenting 10 fresh new tunes - that's the concept of the show. It’s one hour of the pick of the litter of what I get that week of promos. That doesn't necessarily mean I would play those tracks in my personal sets, because I think they're great for the show, but they may not be my style of music or they may not fit in my set. Straight-up, the latest stuff that is out, versus my set that could be some classics, some Ferry Corsten tracks - a mash-up of that.
You skipped the Ultra Festival at last year's WMC. What are your plans for next year's conference?
I don't know yet exactly what this year will bring, but I'll definitely be there. I might be at Ultra, but nothing's set in stone yet, and that's all I know for now.
Will we ever hear from System F again?
System F is really a name from the past. That's one of my aliases. We just did a re-release of the first album this year, because "Out of the Blue," the first track of System F, was such a big influence for a lot of people who are producing trance nowadays. And it was its 10th anniversary. And looking for new and exciting guys, we reached out to the public and said, "Hey, guys, any aspiring producers out there - this is your chance." We made all the parts available for all the tracks and had them remix it, and picked the best mixes of all the tracks, and put out a "champion's league" album.
Ferry Corsten plays Thursday night at Space and makes an in-store appearance Friday at FYE on South Beach.